When Jesus declared, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," he evidently used the word "free" in its broadest sense. The term "free" precludes the possibility of bondage in any degree, or of limitation in any direction,—mental, moral, or physical. Indeed, these three kinds of freedom are so closely associated as to be inseparable, each being more or less dependent upon the remaining two. There can be no complete freedom from any one of them until emancipation from the other two is also obtained. Christ Jesus classed error in its final analysis under one head,—that is, sin. A sick man, when told by him that his sins were forgiven, was instantly healed of his physical distress; and we certainly know that the carnal mind, not matter, was the sinner. Here was a concrete example of the Master's teaching that sin and sickness are one in nature, since both are a denial of God, good. The first step toward freedom is the recognition that one is bound. Had the sick man, to whom reference has been made, held that it was right and proper to be in this hapless condition, he would not have reached out for something better. It was only as he recognized his sense of limitation that he sought release, and put himself in a position to obtain that release.

Most of the conditions of human bondage are obvious enough. There are three, however, to which attention may be directed, on account of the subtlety behind which they seek to hide. They are of such long standing as to seem almost respectable! Few, indeed, realize the bands of steel, as it were, which these conditions have clamped around us.

The first is custom. Under this head may be gathered styles of dress, of speech, of manners, and of amusements. There are many beautiful and harmless styles of dress; there is much clean, simple speech, not lacking in mirth or wit; there are gentle, courteous manners devoid of affectation; and numberless wholesome amusements both out of doors and within. What but the apparently iron hand of custom, which lends an air of respectability to the perversion of these good things, tempts us to sanction or even tolerate the perversions of them?

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Love Understood
June 3, 1922

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